HarperCollins UK is to open applications for 12-month training contracts targeted at black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) graduates from tomorrow (23rd June). The company said the scheme had been created in order to tackle underrepresentation of BAME individuals within the business. It has taken advice from the Business in the Community’s race campaign, of which HarperCollins UK is a member.
Chief executive Charlie Redmayne said: “This is a really important undertaking – one that I hope will inspire potential candidates, and help to address underrepresentation within the industry. There is clearly still a way to go, but I’m confident that with initiatives such as this one, we can move closer to truly reflecting our local communities, our readership, and society at large.”
HarperCollins’ director of people John Athanasiou (pictured) said: “At HarperCollins we recognise that work needs to be done in the area of diversity – particularly that related to race - and I believe that this is the logical first step in addressing the visible imbalances not only in our own company, but in the wider publishing industry too.”
The Bookseller first reported at the London Book Fair that HarperCollins planned to run an employment scheme specifically for BAME candidates. It follows a wide-spread debate within the book sector about how to diversify its workforce. Earlier this year Penguin Random House announced that it would no longer require candidates to have a university degree.
Applications for the HarperCollins traineeships launch on Thursday 23rd June and will run for four weeks, closing on Friday 22nd July. Applications will be advertised on multiple social media platforms, through HarperCollins’ university networks and via the Publishers Association. Two candidates will be selected.
HarperCollins will select graduates for a paid 12 month rotational training contract, encompassing different aspects of the publishing business, to begin in October 2016. As well as learning about HarperCollins’ divisions and functions during the programme, the successful candidates will be allocated a senior mentor to guide and develop them professionally, in addition to the training and support offered by HarperCollins, and given a project to present to the executive team.
The company said that the application process would also create a pipeline of talent from the final assessment stage candidates, with HarperCollins to invite those who don’t make the cut to apply for other entry level roles in the business, alongside other candidates. Athanasiou told The Bookseller: "We get thousands of applications for our graduate schemes, the sheer volume of which allows us to add candidates from the final assessment stages to a pipeline of talent, and through our BAME traineeships, we will have a wider and more diverse pool of talent to add to this. Candidates in our pipeline are invited to apply for other entry level roles at HarperCollins, alongside candidates from other recruitment channels. We hope that the reach of this initiative will also encourage more BAME candidates to consider publishing as a future career."
Sandra Kerr, race equality director for business in the community, said: “Our recent Race at Work research tells us there is a huge appetite for fast track training and opportunities from BAME employees. There is a low representation of BAME employees and professionals in publishing so it is great to see HarperCollins taking this positive action.”
HarperCollins’ separate and long-running Graduate Scheme runs every two years, and is next planned for Autumn 2017.